Step 2 is all about selecting a domain name, hosting and website construction. Each step should be done in order for the best results.
Your Domain Name is your business identity, just like a sign out front of a business.
By now, you should have chosen your first niche, and so the next steps are to choose a domain, hosting and build your website. If you do not yet have a domain name related to your niche please refer to Step 1.
Take your time with these steps. You are trying to build a real business here, establishing yourself as an authority in your niche. A well-crafted website with high quality, original content is critical.
Yes, it does require a small investment, but you can purchase a domain name for less than $20. Having your domain name is a place to start. Selecting a good domain name will help you to focus your website on your chosen niche.
Technically you could start with a blog on Blogger or Tumblr, it is free. I do not recommend this because you have less control. Once you start making some money, you’ll want to switch everything over to your domain, which could be a real hassle down the line. You’ll lose traffic, and will have to start building links from scratch, etc. It’s not ideal, so try to find the money for a domain and hosting, if possible.
If you have little or no money to start, I recommend my students start with a free Wealthy Affiliate account. Even if you have money there are advantages to starting with Wealthy Affiliate.
Wealthy Affiliate will guide you step by step through setting up a free domain. You can later transfer the site to your domain with a click of a button. You can build your site and receive personal help where needed. When you have the money, you can upgrade to their premium account that will host 25 domains for you plus give you 25 additional “siterubix” domains.
If you find Wealthy Affiliate as beneficial as I do and you upgrade I will receive a commission at no extra cost to you. I recommend it because it has helped me.
Choosing a Domain Name
The way most people start is to purchase a domain name and a hosting plan. If you have plenty of money that may not hurt you, but after years of experience, I have changed my mind. Your domain name does not have the importance it once did on SEO rankings, and it is not near as important as getting your website up.
Your domain name will act as your website’s street address. If it is a name that relates to you business it will help build your brand. Once your your website is up and functional, it is the link that allows others to find you among the millions of other sites.
Perfect Domain Names
Most of the “perfect” domain names in your niche will already be long gone by now, as will most of the significant keyword domains. So, you’ll need to get creative, but not over-the-top. Remember, it is not as important as in the past so selecting one that is a little broader is OK.
Let’s say you’ve chosen the basket weaving niche. You want a domain name that lets people know what your site is about without getting so cute or crazy that people don’t remember the website or avoid it altogether because it seems unprofessional.
Some examples might be:
I haven’t looked to see if any of these are available or not, I just came up with them off the top of my head. They’re purely meant to be examples of professional domains one might choose if they are available. You can even use your name or initials if you can not find one that is better.
Examples of bad domains:
- DreamyWeavy.com (a silly play on “dream weaver”)
- BasketVeevil.com (weevil sounds like “weaver”)
These domains, while they might be cute, would not seem professional to the average visitor. They wouldn’t be memorable, because people would be thinking of the original words (like dream weaver) and might have a hard time remembering the play on that word that you used.
If you decide not to take advantage of a free domain and hosting at Wealthy Affiliate, I can recommend NameCheap to register your domains because they are affordably priced and have coupons every month. I have learned that it is best to keep your domain and host at the same place if you can. The more websites you have the more important this becomes.
Set Up Hosting
While a domain name is like your website’s street address, hosting is your website’s physical location. Hosting is like renting a piece of land to build your business on. Your location is important. There are good hosts and bad hosts, slow hosts and fast hosts.
Hosting should be picked carefully.
When it comes to hosting, I highly recommend buying a yearly hosting package if you can afford it. Building a viable website will take you several months before you show any profit. Paying by the year will save you money and protect you from not having the monthly fee to keep going.
And if you don’t pay your hosting bill and your site goes down, any work you’ve already put in will be gone. Poof!
If you are going to go the more conventional route. Don’t let that happen to you. Pay for a year upfront if you can manage it. If you’re serious about this business, you’ll find a way. Remember, this is a business, and companies require investment.
If you can’t swing a full year upfront, try to find the least expensive hosting package you can that has decent reviews. You don’t want to lose traffic because your host is unbearably slow, so it’s essential to pay attention to reviews. And be careful that the reviews are from legitimate users and not affiliates who are merely looking to make a commission.
But then, why put money out when you do not have to?
If you are new to internet marketing or do not yet have a good website up you will need some help. This is another reason I recommend building for free at Wealthy Affiliate. If it takes six months for you to get your site the way you want it the price is still FREE.
Once you start making money you can upgrade to premium. They will transfer all your work to your personal domain for free and within minutes of you requesting it.
It’s perfectly fine to buy your hosting through an affiliate link. Just be sure you read some legitimate reviews first. Most hosting companies have affiliate programs. I am an affiliate of Wealthy Affiliates. Once you see how they help people you may want to be an affiliate too.
Make sure you choose a hosting company that will install your WordPress site for you or has an admin panel like cPanel and has one of the software installation packages like Softaculous. Softaculous will make it a breeze to install stuff like WordPress, even if you don’t have a lot of technical knowledge.
Some popular hosting companies include:
(they do a WordPress installation for you with their hosting)
(they also have great support)
(I have found them to be helpful)
The design of your website is basically like the building that sits on your land (hosting). WordPress is now the most popular website program because you can get started without learning a bunch of coding. WordPress will save you months in the building process, believe me, I have hardcoded a site and it is not easy.
You have two choices.
You can go with a company that installs WordPress for you or a company with cpanel and do it yourself. If you decide to do the install yourself make sure the hosting company includes Softaculous. If you want to do everything yourself, Softaculous will make it will make it easier to install WordPress.
All you have to do to install WordPress is to go to the installer program and click on the button that says WordPress. The program will then ask you a few questions and install the site for you.
Installing WordPress yourself.
You can get started by following the steps outlined below.
- Under scripts, click on WordPress and it will bring up the WordPress installer page.
- Click on “Install Now.” Enter the information requested. I usually choose http://www.
- As the Protocol. Choose your domain from the dropdown box.
- Leave the directory blank unless you have a different page on the root of your domain.
- Enter your site’s name and a short description. Leave
- WPMU blank.
- Enter a username and password. DO NOT use admin as your username, because it will make your blog easier to hack, and choose a strong password!
- Enter the email address where you want notifications to go.
- You should check the Limit Login Attempts.
- Then scroll down and hit Install.
Once it’s finished, use your username and password to log in and get started!
If for some reason you close this page, you can access your admin login page at:
Just replace YourDomain.com with your domain name.
When you get logged in, there are a few things you will want to do to get your site set up correctly. Go to Settings in the menu on the left, and click Permalinks.
You can set your structure here, but I usually use either Post Name or a custom structure in which I add into the box.
Setting your Permalinks structure isn’t critical, but it does make your site more SEO friendly because it gives the search engines other keywords instead of just random numbers and such, which is how WordPress handles things by default.
Once you’ve done this, it’s time to add plugins and themes.
Install Themes & Plugins
There are plenty of free themes out there, so it’s not necessary to pay for them. However, there are themes out there that are built specifically for marketers, so you might want to look at a few of them.
One theme that is very good for marketing purposes is the Extra theme from Elegant Themes.
This theme is structured well, has many features that make it work very well for marketing, and works well with Elegant Themes’ marketing plugins, too.
Sometimes Elegant Themes has specials where you can get a lifetime license at a very affordable price, so it’s worth looking out for those offers! Even at the current yearly access price of $89, or the current lifetime access price of $249, it’s a great deal for all that you get!
Plus, the Divi theme is excellent for making product sales pages and squeeze pages because it lets you create your pages using modules. It’s straightforward to use, even for a beginner. Their documentation leads you through the whole process. So, if you think you might want to launch your products later, this membership is even more worth it.
Don’t forget to download and install some of their plugins, as well.
For example, Bloom is great for creating unusual opt-in forms. Monarch is a great social media sharing plugin that adds social sharing buttons to all your posts automatically. And the Divi Builder plugin will add the powerful drag-and-drop page building functionality of the Divi theme to ANY theme from ANY creator.
Don’t go crazy with plugins!
Add only those you need. Otherwise, you’ll end up slowing down your site, which will hurt your SEO.
I suggest adding:
- A social media plugin, such as Monarch (from ElegantThemes)
- An opt-in plugin, such as Bloom (from ElegantThemes)
- An SEO package like All-in-One SEO or Yoast
- W3 Total Cache for speed
- org Rich Snippets (for SEO, Pinterest, Facebook, etc.)
- A security program like WordFence
- A backup solution like BackupBuddy
- An analytics program like Google Analyticator or Clicky by Yoast
- An editorial calendar, especially if you have multiple authors
- A comment system, like Akismet or Disqus, to help combat spam
You may find some others that work well for your specific needs, but these are some of the most important that you’ll almost certainly want to include. Most are free, but a few are paid. There are nearly always free options available, but sometimes the paid options offer more features or work better.
Another great package you might want to consider using is SumoMe. Sumo has many plugins that you can install from a single interface.
Just install the SumoMe plugin, sign up for an account, and you can install the various plugins from the interface.
They have plugins for social sharing, opt-ins, and lots more.